After emerging from hideouts, Colombia’s rebels now in limbo
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA >> As peace talks in Colombia advanced over the past year, 7,000 rebel fighters began slowly emerging from their jungle hideouts hoping for, if not a hero’s welcome, at least an outstretched hand from fellow Colombians tired of a half-century of bloody combat.
But with the peace deal’s shock defeat in a referendum on Sunday, the future of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s rebels, who unanimously ratified the accord just days ago and began planning a return to civilian life, is now in limbo.
For now, a return to the battlefield in a war that has already killed 220,000 people and displaced 8 million seems unlikely. Within hours of defeat, FARC leader Rodrigo Londono reaffirmed the group’s commitment to peace, saying its only weapon going forward would be the power of its word. On Monday, he said his troops would honor its commitments to the government and stick by a permanent cease-fire.